A few months back I bought a couple of cheap USB WiFi adapters from DealExtreme. Today I finally got around to try them on the Raspberry Pi. Of the three adapters, two works both on a Fedora 17 64 bits based desktop as well as on the RPi. Notice that they both seem to contain the same chip, and indeed reports the same vendor and product ID. The last, the EDUP device, does detect available WiFi networks, but usually does not establish a connection (the very last time I tried, it suddenly did). I suspect it might be a USB power issue, since it also “crashed” the USB hub on the desktop, causing the keyboard and mouse to temporarily disconnect. Here are some notes which might be related. Of the three, the one with antenna is fastest at establishing the connection, but the other small adapter also gives good transfer speed; around 3.6 Mb/s seen today, but I expect it can go faster.
Archive for the ·
4 TB is finally at the top now, giving most storage for money. Both the Western Digital and Seagate drives are priced at 144 Euros, making them the new ideal disk for a large storage or backup systems. Furthermore, WD has put out a 4 TB in their My Book external series, which again gives more bytes per coin than its 3 TB little brother.
On the Sandisk Compact Flash end of the list there are also some interesting additions. They have added new Extreme Pro editions, at 120 MB/s and at a really extreme 160 MB/s read/write speed. On their own marketing page, they claim these cards are suited for shooting “4K” (e.g. 3840 × 2160 or 4096 × 2160). However, these cards are expensive, at 630 Euros for 128 GB, and 1200 Euros for 256 GB; not for the hobbyist in other words.
|Media Type||Product||Capacity||Price CHF||Price Euros||Euros / GB||GBs / Euro|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 4TB||4000 GB||179.00||144.35||0.04||27.71|
|Harddisk||Seagate Barracuda 4TB||4000 GB||179.00||144.35||0.04||27.71|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB||3000 GB||135.00||108.87||0.04||27.56|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 4TB, USB3||4000 GB||184.00||148.39||0.04||26.96|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 3TB, USB3||3000 GB||143.00||115.32||0.04||26.01|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Red 3TB||3000 GB||145.00||116.94||0.04||25.66|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Red 4TB||4000 GB||199.00||160.48||0.04||24.92|
|Harddisk||Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000, 4TB||4000 GB||199.00||160.48||0.04||24.92|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB||2000 GB||107.00||86.29||0.04||23.18|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Black 4TB||4000 GB||264.00||212.90||0.05||18.79|
|External 2.5||Western Digital Elements Portable 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||137.00||110.48||0.06||18.10|
|External 2.5||Western Digital My Passport 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||139.00||112.10||0.06||17.84|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB||1000 GB||70.00||56.45||0.06||17.71|
|External 2.5||Western Digital Elements Portable 1TB, USB3||1000 GB||83.00||66.94||0.07||14.94|
|External 2.5||Western Digital My Passport 1TB, USB3||1000 GB||84.00||67.74||0.07||14.76|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 1TB, USB3||1000 GB||105.00||84.68||0.08||11.81|
|Blu-ray||Verbatim BD-R SL 25 @ 50GB||1250 GB||238.00||191.94||0.15||6.51|
|DVD+R DL||Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 25 @ 8,5GB||213 GB||42.00||33.87||0.16||6.27|
|DVD-R||Verbatim 16x DVD-R 100 @ 4,7GB||470 GB||96.00||77.42||0.16||6.07|
|DVD+R DL||Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 10 @ 8,5GB||85 GB||36.00||29.03||0.34||2.93|
|CD-R||Verbatim CD-R 100 @ 700MB||70 GB||35.00||28.23||0.40||2.48|
|SSD||Samsung SSD 840 Basic, TLC, 500GB||500 GB||333.00||268.55||0.54||1.86|
|SSD||Sandisk Extreme 480GB||480 GB||339.00||273.39||0.57||1.76|
|SSD||Corsair Neutron 256GB||256 GB||207.00||166.94||0.65||1.53|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 240GB||240 GB||225.00||181.45||0.76||1.32|
|SSD||Corsair Neutron 128GB||128 GB||123.00||99.19||0.77||1.29|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 32GB||32 GB||31.00||25.00||0.78||1.28|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 120GB||120 GB||128.00||103.23||0.86||1.16|
|SDXC||Sandisk Ultra SDXC, Class 10, 15/30MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||75.00||60.48||0.95||1.06|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 16GB||16 GB||19.00||15.32||0.96||1.04|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Ultra Cruzer BACKUP 64GB||64 GB||77.00||62.10||0.97||1.03|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 15/30MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||41.00||33.06||1.03||0.97|
|SDXC||Sandisk Extreme SDXC, UHS-I, 45MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||208.00||167.74||1.31||0.76|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Blade 8GB||8 GB||13.00||10.48||1.31||0.76|
|SDXC||Sandisk Extreme SDXC, UHS-I, 80/60MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||115.00||92.74||1.45||0.69|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 30MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||29.00||23.39||1.46||0.68|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 30MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||18.00||14.52||1.81||0.55|
|SDXC||Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC, UHS-I, 95/45MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||148.00||119.35||1.86||0.54|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 10, 30MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||38.00||30.65||1.92||0.52|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class 10, 90/95MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||78.00||62.90||1.97||0.51|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 10, 30MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||21.00||16.94||2.12||0.47|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Ultra 200x, 16GB||16 GB||50.00||40.32||2.52||0.40|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||200.00||161.29||2.52||0.40|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class UHS-I, 90/95MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||27.00||21.77||2.72||0.37|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class UHS-I, 90/95MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||55.00||44.35||2.77||0.36|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||112.00||90.32||2.82||0.35|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme 800x, 120MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||457.00||368.55||2.88||0.35|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme 800x, 120MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||230.00||185.48||2.90||0.35|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||365.00||294.35||4.60||0.22|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, 256GB||256 GB||1479.00||1192.74||4.66||0.21|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||191.00||154.03||4.81||0.21|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||48.00||38.71||4.84||0.21|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||98.00||79.03||4.94||0.20|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||786.00||633.87||4.95||0.20|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||102.00||82.26||5.14||0.19|
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.240000 CHF.
The wobbly economy seems to have stalled the improvements in prices seen at the beginning of the year, and certain SSD and memory offerings are now slightly more expensive than in February. Spinning disks have declined a bit, but we will probably have to wait till the end of the year, when the new 5 TB disks come online, to see significant shifts.
On the bright side, 4 TB disks are now really taking off, with the Seagate Barracuda 4 TB now just marginally more expensive than the WD Green 3 TB in terms of bucks per GB. Also interesting, is the WD Red offering, which at only 10 Euros difference to the Green 3 TB counterpart now looks like a very good deal. The difference is the manufacturer warranty at 3 vs. 2/1 years, but also in number of platters, 3 for the former, while Green is still on 4 x 750 GB (as far as I know). Since my old HD is shown critical signs of ageing, I might just pick up one of those.
Finally, I’ve also updated the long term history chart at hblok.net/storage. Again, somewhat sideways movement for some of the items.
|Media Type||Product||Capacity||Price CHF||Price Euros||Euros / GB||GBs / Euro|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB||3000 GB||137.00||111.38||0.04||26.93|
|Harddisk||Seagate Barracuda 4TB||4000 GB||185.00||150.41||0.04||26.59|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 3TB, USB3||3000 GB||144.00||117.07||0.04||25.63|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 4TB, USB3||4000 GB||195.00||158.54||0.04||25.23|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Red 3TB||3000 GB||149.00||121.14||0.04||24.77|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB||2000 GB||105.00||85.37||0.04||23.43|
|Harddisk||Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000, 4TB||4000 GB||229.00||186.18||0.05||21.48|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||115.00||93.50||0.05||21.39|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Black 4TB||4000 GB||284.00||230.89||0.06||17.32|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB||1000 GB||72.00||58.54||0.06||17.08|
|External 2.5||Western Digital My Passport 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||149.00||121.14||0.06||16.51|
|Harddisk||Western Digital RE 4TB||4000 GB||368.00||299.19||0.07||13.37|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 1TB, USB3||1000 GB||105.00||85.37||0.09||11.71|
|Blu-ray||Verbatim BD-R SL 25 @ 50GB||1250 GB||238.00||193.50||0.15||6.46|
|DVD+R DL||Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 25 @ 8,5GB||213 GB||42.00||34.15||0.16||6.22|
|DVD-R||Verbatim 16x DVD-R 100 @ 4,7GB||470 GB||96.00||78.05||0.17||6.02|
|DVD+R DL||Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 10 @ 8,5GB||85 GB||36.00||29.27||0.34||2.90|
|CD-R||Verbatim CD-R 100 @ 700MB||70 GB||35.00||28.46||0.41||2.46|
|SSD||Samsung SSD 840 Basic, TLC, 500GB||500 GB||329.00||267.48||0.53||1.87|
|SSD||Corsair Neutron 256GB||256 GB||212.00||172.36||0.67||1.49|
|SSD||Sandisk Extreme 480GB||480 GB||400.00||325.20||0.68||1.48|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 32GB||32 GB||29.00||23.58||0.74||1.36|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 240GB||240 GB||224.00||182.11||0.76||1.32|
|SSD||Corsair Neutron 128GB||128 GB||125.00||101.63||0.79||1.26|
|SSD||OCZ Agility 3 120GB||120 GB||119.00||96.75||0.81||1.24|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 240GB||240 GB||239.00||194.31||0.81||1.24|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 4 128GB||128 GB||136.00||110.57||0.86||1.16|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 120GB||120 GB||131.00||106.50||0.89||1.13|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Ultra Cruzer BACKUP 64GB||64 GB||70.00||56.91||0.89||1.12|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 16GB||16 GB||19.00||15.45||0.97||1.04|
|SDXC||Sandisk Ultra SDXC, Class 10, 15/30MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||78.00||63.41||0.99||1.01|
|SDXC||Sandisk Extreme SDXC, UHS-I, 45MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||168.00||136.59||1.07||0.94|
|SSD||OCZ Agility 3 240GB||240 GB||322.00||261.79||1.09||0.92|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 15/30MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||43.00||34.96||1.09||0.92|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Blade 8GB||8 GB||13.00||10.57||1.32||0.76|
|SDXC||Sandisk Extreme SDXC, UHS-I, 45MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||114.00||92.68||1.45||0.69|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 30MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||29.00||23.58||1.47||0.68|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 30MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||16.00||13.01||1.63||0.61|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 10, 30MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||35.00||28.46||1.78||0.56|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 10, 30MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||18.00||14.63||1.83||0.55|
|SDXC||Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC, UHS-I, 95/45MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||148.00||120.33||1.88||0.53|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class 10, 90/95MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||78.00||63.41||1.98||0.50|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Ultra 200x, 16GB||16 GB||50.00||40.65||2.54||0.39|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||200.00||162.60||2.54||0.39|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||102.00||82.93||2.59||0.39|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class UHS-I, 90/95MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||27.00||21.95||2.74||0.36|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class UHS-I, 90/95MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||55.00||44.72||2.79||0.36|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 6, 20MB/s, 4GB||4 GB||17.00||13.82||3.46||0.29|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||329.00||267.48||4.18||0.24|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 100MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||659.00||535.77||4.19||0.24|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||174.00||141.46||4.42||0.23|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||89.00||72.36||4.52||0.22|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||47.00||38.21||4.78||0.21|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||103.00||83.74||5.23||0.19|
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.230000 CHF.
The myths about how you should use an SSD, and what you should not do with it keep on spinning. Even if there are frequent articles which crunch the actual numbers, the superstition persists. Back in 2008, Robert Penz concluded that your 64 GB SSD could be used for swap, a journalling file system, and consumer level logging, and still last between 20 and 50 years under extreme use.
Fast forward to 2013, with 120 and 240 GB drives becoming affordable, the problem should have virtually disappeared from consumer grade hardware, but people are still worried. So when Magnus Deininger did some estimates on SSD stress testing, he got flack from Slashdot since he did not cover the consumer level disks. The write endurance and number of estimated write cycles on a single block before it goes bad varies widely between consumer and enterprise grade disks, ranging from only 1000 cycles to a million. This article from Centon explains why that is. As can be seen from the simplified figure below, the cheaper consumer drives using “TLC” (Three Layer Cell) or “MLC” (Multi Layer Cell) memory cram the data a lot closer, and thus degrade quicker than enterprise grade “SLC” (Single Layer Cell) memory.
Stress test of consumer SSD
Deininger concerned himself only with the high end drives, with 100k to 1M write cycles, while most folks over at Slashdot seems to have the low end ones, at 1k – 10k write cycles, and thus the furore. However, Deininger’s estimates were also skewed against the high end drives, since he used the maximum write speed of the SATA 3 controller, which at 6 Gbit/s (750 MByte/s) is lot more than the ~500 MB/s a typical SSD is rated for, or the ~250 MB/s you probably get out of it on a consumer system. And even that is still estimates for a stress tests, and does not even start to model a typical consumer usage pattern.
Deininger goes into detail on how he came up with the estimates, and also how to plot his graphs in Gnuplot. So based on that, let’s run a few numbers, covering the 10k and 1k disks and typical use. However, let’s first drop the stress test write speed down from max controller speed to typical system speed of 250 MB/s. Also, for his plots, he uses multiples of 1024, which for flash memory based drives might be correct, but is not universally used; for example Intel specifies in GB (base 10), while OCZ in GiB (base 2). For transfer speed, this is wrong, as base 10 is the norm. Although it does not make a big difference, I’ve changed to base 10 numbers.
The graphs show time on the x-axis (days on the two first, and years in the next section), and the fraction of broken memory cells (or blocks) on the y-axis. That is, from 0 damaged cells, to 100% or all of them at the top. A horizontal lines marks the 10% point in all graphs since this is usually the point where damaged cells will be visible to the end user. Before that, the internal write levelling on the disk controller will hide these cells, since most disks come with about 10% space reserved for this. (Thus a disk with 128 GiB space is sold as 120 GB, and 256 GiB is sold as 240 GB).
First, there are a few fundamentals based on Deininger equations which can be seen in his examples, and also becomes clear in the graphs above: Doubling storage capacity of the drive doubles the time to failure (at the 10% line). And increasing flash lifespan by a factor of ten also increases time to failure by a factor of ten. All linear relationships, and no magic there, in other words.
For the three drive sizes considered (I dropped the 32 GB size, as I did not find it worthwhile for almost any application any more), the failure times at 10.000 write cycles are 26, 51, and 103 days for 64, 128 and 256 GB respectively. For TLC memory, at only 1000 cycles, the times are thus also a tenth; 2.6, 5.1 and 10.3 days.
If you were to conduct a stress test of drives from different manufactures, these numbers would be interesting. You could for example do the write, check and remove operations continuously till you start to see errors on the data written. However, as read speeds are typically around the same as write speeds for most SSDs, it would actually take at least twice as long as the points in these graphs. (The remove operation also has to be factored in, but is only a fraction of full read and write).
For any performance test it is important to understand where the critical failure points are. However, it does still not tell us what will happen on a typical home user system. A typical consumer would not fill up his whole drive multiple times a day, only to remove it all and start over. So how best to simulate typical user behaviour. Well, we could of course just leave the drive in a machine, and run user software over many years to see what happens. That would not be practical, as we’d never get any useful results in a reasonable time. So, we’re left with estimates, but at a different write speed than the stress test above.
How much would a typical user write to his disk? There will be different use cases of course, but let’s assume two scenarios: a low to medium use case, where 1 GB is written every day, and a heavy home user who writes 1 GB an hour, every day (although, even that is probably beyond what could be labelled as consumer usage). At this point, a table of the different speeds and units comes in handy, so we can wrap our head around the numbers. It then becomes clear how extreme the 250 MB/s stress test actually is, as it will fill up a 64 GB disk 337 times over in 24 hours (250 MB/s * (24*60*60) second = 21600 GB. And 21600 / 64 GB = 337.5 times).
|SATA3 max speed||6000||750||2700000||64800||23652000|
Now for some graphs. You’ll have to watch them carefully as the plotted lines are all the same, the y-axis are all the same, the disk sizes are the same, and the only parameters changing are write speed; 1 GB vs. 24 GB a day, and cell cycle life span; 10k vs. 1k. And watch out for the x-axis which are now in years, instead of days above. The first graph shows 10k write cycle disks, where 1 GB is written every day. The smallest disk, at 64 GB, will then last for 1524 years!
Can that be right, you ask? There must be some a mistake in the numbers somewhere? Well, let’s do a quick check to see if it matches Deininger’s graphs: First, his plots were in days, so 1524 years makes 1524 * 365 = 556260 days. Next, the ratio between 6 GBit/s and 1 GByte / day we get from the table above: 64800 (GB / day). Finally, In his first graph, he considered 100k write cycle disks, so we multiply by a factor of 10. Plug in the numbers: 556260 / 64800 * 10 = 86. Exactly matching 86 days for the 64 GB disk at 100k cycles in his first graph. The math works out.
Even in the most unrealistic use case, where a 64 GB drive rated for 1000 write cycles (TLC memory) is filled up almost three times per week, it will last more than six years before the first dead memory cells are likely to show. Moving to a MLC based drive at 10k (still consumer grade), the time to failure moves to 63 years, most likely far outlasting the system it was hosted in, or maybe even the consumer who bought it.
(For the Gnuplot scripts to generate all the graphs above, please see this file).
So will Sold State Drives last till the end of time? Of course not! In fact, plenty of other components are prone to fail just the same way as in old HDDs: Capacitors are infamous for their short lifespan; solder joins might crack. The important point is, it is not the memory cells which are likely to fail first, even under the most extreme use.
Still, it makes sense to deploy tools fit for purpose: An enterprise drive drive using SLC memory, with 100k or 1M write cycles will leave all doubts behind. There will be no need to consider special use cases or take special precautions (beyond normal backup and security procedures which should be in place regardless of drive type). For the home user, the same is true: Even the smallest drives with shortest cell lifespan will not fail under normal use.
More specifically, there are no problems or worries with
- using ext3, ext4 or other journalling file systems on an SSD.
- storing /tmp or logs on the SSD.
- using an SSD partition for memory swap.
- any normal consumer usage pattern.
In summary: Exchanging the old spinning disk with solid state will pose no extra risk of data loss. It will of course not reduce the risk of loss from other threats either, so normal backup and security procedures should always be in place.
Computer storage, primary and secondary memory, has seen a tremendous phase of development over the last fifty years. As new technology has been brought to the market prices have continued to decline steadily at a logarithmic scale. For magnetic storage, the trend has been very stable over the last thirty years, with prices per MB going down around a third every year, or a ninety percent every five years. For primary storage, the trend has been more volatile, but overall we see a similar rate of decline all the way back to the first flip-flops in the 1950s.
John C. McCallum has done a good job collecting all the data over the years, and going back to computer magazines for reference. However, since the beginning of 2012 there have been no updates, so I’ve taken up the work where he left off. I’ve added a new page to my site, where I will collect the data and update the graphs over time: hblok.net/storage
In the first update, the harddisk prices are most interesting, and we can now clearly see the effect of the flood disaster in late 2011. It has interrupted a thirty year trend, and as a result prices are about the same per MB as they were one and a half years ago. Now the question is, will this have a lasting effect on the magnetic harddisk prices, or will it be just a blip in history, as technological improvements bring us cheaper storage at the same phase.
The two plots below extrapolate the trend over the last thirty years, with two different scenarios: 1) Improvements in technology will catch up with the delay over the last year, and thus the thirty year trend will continue unaffected (red line). Or 2) phase of improvments will not change, and thus the rate of decline in price will stay the same, but shift the line by about a year (blue line).
The price is 0.4 cents per GB today (4e-5 per MB). If we look two years ahead, with the uninterrupted scenario (red line), the price would be 0.05 cents per GB in 2015 (5e-6 per MB), or put in different ways: 3 TB of storage which costs $125 today would have to go down to about $15 in two years, or for the same $125 you’d have to get a whopping 25 TB (yes, twenty five!). Given the recent news from the major harddisk vendors, that seems rather unlikely to happen; they’re only planning for 5 TB drives at the end of this year. So, over two years time, prices will not catch up. Perhaps this will change looking even further ahead, however, extrapolating technological trends beyond a year or two is merely guessing.
If we look at the second scenario, where we assume that the prices will continue to decline at the same rate as they have done in the past, given today’s price we’re then looking at about 0.15 cents per GB (1.6e-5 per MB). That would mean that today’s 3 TB would go for around $50, while $125 would buy you about 8 TB. That seems more reasonable, and also in line with what products are being brought to market and in research right now. If the rumoured 5 TB Western Digital disk will be realised with four platters (4 * 1.25 TB) at the end of this year, it means five platter 6.25 TB (5 * 1.25) disks are already a possibility. Increasing storage density another 30% to reach 8 TB over the following year seems a reasonable assumption.
I’m a bit late to the leaked news about the 5 TB Western Digital drives in the beginning of December 2012, however in my defence, I got bored of searching for “4 TB” and “5 TB harddisk” all the time. What’s interesting though, is that according to the leaked documents, 5 TB is nowhere near yet. We’ll have to wait till the end of this year. From the Samsung/Seagate camp I still find nothing.
As mentioned earlier, a 4 TB five platter (5 x 800 GB) was released in the WD enterprise class line, while a 3 TB three platter (3 x 1 TB) came out in the Red series last autumn. This should have made 4 TB four platter and 5 TB five platter disks the next logical conclusion, but for some reason we’ll have to wait another year. With only a single competitor in sight, which doesn’t even have an offering, it is hard to not blame the harddisk duopoly for the lack of progress.
Maybe the most interesting part of this news is that some sites have started to speculate in 1.25 TB platters. That is; would a 5 TB drive use five 1 TB or four 1.25 TB platters. According to xbitlabs, the five platter technology comes from Hitachi, which might explain why we have not seen it in a WD drive before. However, now that they have merged (or acquired), that is a possibility. As far as I can tell, 1.25 TB platters are still under development, but when they come out, the potential is for a 6.25 TB (5 x 1.25) drive. Let’s hope we will not have to wait yet another year for that to happen.
As Geoff Gasior pointed out in Tech Report last month, 3.5″ HDD prices are still significantly higher than pre-flod last year. Interestingly, some of the 2.5″ drivers are cheaper than last year, while some of the smaller 3.5″ drivers are up to 60% more expensive. Couch critics explain it with lack of demand, and HDD companies still recovering their loses from last year.
Despite this lag in price reductions, or perhaps due to the prevailing high prices of 2TB drives, both the WD Green 3 TB (internal and external) drives are now on top of the list. This is a first, and has been a long time coming. It is not much, but you now get 2.7% more bytes for your Euros on a 3TB drive, compared to 2TB internal.
Also interesting in this round, is that Western Digital has finally gotten around to release a 4 TB drive, more than a year after Hitachi showed off their Deskstar 7K4000 4 TB. What’s surprising about WD’s offering, is that this is, like the Deskstar, a five platter (5 x 800GB) drive. Surprising, since WD is already offering 1 TB platters in their Red line, but with max capacity of 3 TB. As discussed earlier, the 4 and 5 TB 1TB/platter drives are highly overdue. What’s more, WD has chosen to introduce the 4TB drives at the top of the range, in its RE 24/7 support, and Black lines. In terms of speed, it does makes sense use more platters in those high-end drives, however, they might also be less reliable, due to more moving parts. Five years factory warranty on the former line does mean they are serious about quality, though.
|Media Type||Product||Capacity||Price CHF||Price Euros||Euros / GB||GBs / Euro|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB||3000 GB||159.00||131.62||0.04||22.79|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 3TB, USB3||3000 GB||159.00||131.62||0.04||22.79|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB||2000 GB||109.00||90.23||0.05||22.17|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||135.00||111.75||0.06||17.90|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Black 4TB||4000 GB||322.00||266.56||0.07||15.01|
|Harddisk||Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000, 4TB||4000 GB||329.00||272.35||0.07||14.69|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB||1000 GB||84.00||69.54||0.07||14.38|
|External 2.5||Western Digital My Passport 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||179.00||148.18||0.07||13.50|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 1TB, USB3||1000 GB||105.00||86.92||0.09||11.50|
|Harddisk||Western Digital RE 4TB||4000 GB||449.00||371.69||0.09||10.76|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB||500 GB||79.00||65.40||0.13||7.65|
|Blu-ray||Verbatim BD-R SL 25 @ 50GB||1250 GB||238.00||197.02||0.16||6.34|
|DVD+R DL||Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 25 @ 8,5GB||213 GB||42.00||34.77||0.16||6.11|
|DVD-R||Verbatim 16x DVD-R 100 @ 4,7GB||470 GB||96.00||79.47||0.17||5.91|
|CD-R||Verbatim CD-R 100 @ 700MB||70 GB||35.00||28.97||0.41||2.42|
|SSD||OCZ Agility 3 240GB||240 GB||169.00||139.90||0.58||1.72|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 240GB||240 GB||216.00||178.81||0.75||1.34|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 32GB||32 GB||29.00||24.01||0.75||1.33|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 120GB||120 GB||109.00||90.23||0.75||1.33|
|SSD||Corsair Force3 240GB||240 GB||220.00||182.12||0.76||1.32|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 240GB||240 GB||229.00||189.57||0.79||1.27|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 120GB||120 GB||121.00||100.17||0.83||1.20|
|SSD||OCZ Agility 3 120GB||120 GB||122.00||100.99||0.84||1.19|
|SSD||Corsair Force3 120GB||120 GB||126.00||104.30||0.87||1.15|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Ultra Cruzer BACKUP 64GB||64 GB||75.00||62.09||0.97||1.03|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 15/30MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||44.00||36.42||1.14||0.88|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 8GB||8 GB||13.00||10.76||1.35||0.74|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 16GB||16 GB||26.00||21.52||1.35||0.74|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 30MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||27.00||22.35||1.40||0.72|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 10, 30MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||32.00||26.49||1.66||0.60|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 10, 30MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||19.00||15.73||1.97||0.51|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class 10, 90/95MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||84.00||69.54||2.17||0.46|
|SDHC||Sandisk Ultra, Class 10, 30MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||22.00||18.21||2.28||0.44|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class UHS-I, 90/95MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||52.00||43.05||2.69||0.37|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme Pro, Class UHS-I, 90/95MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||28.00||23.18||2.90||0.35|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Ultra 200x, 16GB||16 GB||59.00||48.84||3.05||0.33|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||121.00||100.17||3.13||0.32|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||246.00||203.64||3.18||0.31|
|SDHC||Sandisk Extreme, Class 6, 20MB/s, 4GB||4 GB||18.00||14.90||3.73||0.27|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||85.00||70.36||4.40||0.23|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 100MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||819.00||677.98||5.30||0.19|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||433.00||358.44||5.60||0.18|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||218.00||180.46||5.64||0.18|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||55.00||45.53||5.69||0.18|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||131.00||108.44||6.78||0.15|
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.208000 CHF.
The Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 4 TB is turning one year soon, and since then there have been many interesting events in the harddisk market. Still in memory and felt in the prices is the Thai flood from last autumn; although the prices are finally starting to move back to pre-flood. Then the consolidation of Hitachi into Western Digital, and Samsung into Seagate, leaving only two major HDD manufactures standing.
Since then, there haven’t been to much interesting news, but maybe there are changes on the horizon. WD recently released a new line “WD Red”, targeting the NAS market specifically. See storagereview.com’s review for details. What’s notable is not the line itself, but its internal composition: It’s a 3 TB drive, but using 3 x 1 TB platters, whereas the Green line, at least initially had 4 x 750 GB platters. I am assuming that is still the case.
Four platters is the typical configuration for most high capacity, non-enterprise drives. It is possible to push in five platters, which Seagate has done previously, but four seems to be a good trade-off between reliability and size. As far as I’m aware, WD has not ventured into five platter designs before.
However, now that they have a line using 1 TB platters, why not take the next logical step and offer a 4 TB Green drive? And if Seagate is willing to do a five platter drive again, why not make a 5 TB drive? What is stopping both from taking the next step? Possibly, they are still licking their wounds after the flood? Maybe milking the market for the demand for current capacity drives before moving on? Either way, if we don’t see new 4 and 5 TB headlines by the end of the year, something is really off on the HDD front.
Just got my first order delivered from DealExtreame today, and must say I’m very happy with the whole experience. Some claim that shipment is slow, however, from order to delivery, it took 15 days in this case (only 11 of which was for shipping from China). Very reasonable, in my opinion.
The order was for a USB Barcode Scanner, of type XYL-820. Again, I’m very impressed with the quality. It is a professional tool, highly configurable, comes with detailed low level documentation, yet is very easy to use. Just plug & play; it is detected as a keyboard device, and start scanning. All options can be configured through scanning of special bar codes which are printed in the manual. Through them you can easily turn on or off sound confirmation, carriage return, encoding, etc. The device was detected without problem under both Fedora and Ubuntu.
The goal is to use it for my CD database. Having the bar codes will be useful once my catalogue is complete. Then I can scan CDs in the shop, see which ones I’ve already bought, which ones I’m missing, and so on.
A recent Guardian article has a small round-up of the latest SSD prices, claiming “SSD prices have halved in a year”. It includes some price points over the last year to back that up, and points out that many offerings have now come down below $1 / GB. This makes SSD drives ideal for boot-up / OS drives, especially in laptops without heavy storage requirements. Indeed, certain laptops are now sold only in SSD configurations.
But is this enough to leave magnetic storage in the dust? No, not so fast. Although some of the commenters concern themselves with the reliability of SSD, this has been debunked a long time ago. Short summary: on a normal user system, you don’t need to take special consideration when switching from spinning to solid drives.
Rather, the price per GB is still an issue. As already mentioned, SSD is dropping fast, but it is still at a 10:1 ratio to magnetic. And even with the hit Western Digital and Seagate took last year, they will continue to innovate. The Hitachi (now owned by WD) Deskstar 7K4000, 4 TB is soon one year old. It features 1 TB platters, in a four-platter configuration; making a 5 TB (5 platter) disk already theoretically feasible. That means 6 TB is the next frontier for magnetic in the consumer range. The Deskstar comes in at $0.09 / GB, while the lowest WD is the 2 TB, at $0.06 / GB.
Meanwhile, very few 2.5″ SSD drives are above 512 GB. And those that are cost a lot; around $2 / GB. Only specialist SSD offerings are above 1 TB, like the OCZ Velodrive 1200GB PCI-E card. However, now we’re talking 3300 Euros (USD 4187), or $3.5 / GB. Compared to the $0.06, that’s a 58:1 ratio.
In other words: SSD still has quite some way to go before it catches up in price and size.
This week was not a good one for “cloud security”. No less than three major web sites had their password databases stolen, with LinkedIn as one of the biggest hits. Since they did not “salt” their password hashes, there is now a trove of easily crackable password hashes for everybody to go through.
Not exactly my cup of tea, but what I found interesting was this tool which lets you check whether a passwords was included on the list of 6.5 million. Now, I wouldn’t advice anybody to type their real password in there, no matter how much that web sites claims they are the “good guys”. However, it’s fun to see what other “clever” passwords people come up with. Here’s some of the ones I’ve found (minimum length at LinkedIn was 6 characters).
The obvious: password, 123456, qwerty
The keyboard layout: qazwsx, zse4xdr5, 0987654321, mnbvcxz.
Well, virtually every “clever” layout combination I can come up with. Including “super clever” ones like: zse456, 890okm, !QAZ”WSX.
The names: harry1, harry2, harry3, harry4, harry5, harry6, harry7, harry8, harry25, harry26, anna25, john30.
The famous: rambo1, gaga12, posh10, clinton, billgates, hilton
The pets: puppy1, puppy2, bonzo1, pluto1.
The cities: london, newyork, berlin, oslo11, tokyo1, zurich
The obscene: Actually, I’d rather not have my blog black-listed by iterating them here. You go ahead and try yourself. There’s many of them. If the word doesn’t make up six letters, append 1 or 10.
Ok, that’s enough fun for now. I’m thinking this would make a great game! A twist on the old hang-man. Or maybe more time-based: Guess 10 LinkedIn passwords in 20 seconds. Well, looking at the examples above, that’s possibly too easy.
John C. McCallum has collected a lot of data points for prices on both memory, magnetic disks, and flash, and made the beautiful graph below. It is interesting, since this type of graph is rather rare. He is also plotting the flip-side of Moore’s law; CPU performance, but that’s more common information.
Notice how both graphs are on logarithmic scales. It is interesting to see that the prices of (small) disk drives (in $/MB) has shown a consistent trend for the last 30 years. The very last data point shows a small increase due to the Thailand flood, but still of little significance when put into longer perspective. The DIMM and other memory prices are a bit more varied over the years, but again the decreasing price trend is very consistent, with a rather straight line going back to the very beginning, about 55 years ago.
He seems to update regularly, so be sure to check back on his page. (I hope the direct image link is not a problem).
To test your connection, try http://test-ipv6.com.
Below are some ping6 tests from today, just for the record. nine.ch is my hosting provider.
$ ping6 google.com
PING google.com(mil01s17-in-x06.1e100.net) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from mil01s17-in-x06.1e100.net: icmp_seq=1 ttl=57 time=168 ms
64 bytes from mil01s17-in-x06.1e100.net: icmp_seq=2 ttl=57 time=167 ms
64 bytes from mil01s17-in-x06.1e100.net: icmp_seq=3 ttl=57 time=163 ms
$ ping6 facebook.com
PING facebook.com(www6-10-08-prn1.facebook.com) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from www6-10-08-prn1.facebook.com: icmp_seq=1 ttl=45 time=173 ms
64 bytes from www6-10-08-prn1.facebook.com: icmp_seq=2 ttl=45 time=174 ms
64 bytes from www6-10-08-prn1.facebook.com: icmp_seq=3 ttl=45 time=173 ms
$ ping6 nine.ch
PING nine.ch(2a02:418:6201:499::157) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from www.nine.ch: icmp_seq=1 ttl=57 time=176 ms
64 bytes from 2a02:418:6201:499::157: icmp_seq=2 ttl=57 time=176 ms
64 bytes from 2a02:418:6201:499::157: icmp_seq=3 ttl=57 time=175 ms
64 bytes from 2a02:418:6201:499::157: icmp_seq=4 ttl=57 time=175 ms
A wind of nostalgia blew past, and for some reason I remembered rainy nights in the early 90s, waiting for Norton Speed Disk to defragment a 30 MB FAT16 drive. But what happened to the defrag tools? Well, on Windows it seems they are all alive and well, with Windows 7 apparently doing automatic daily defrag in the background. In other words, on modern NTFS file systems it is still considered necessary. What I’d like to see benchmarks on is how much of a difference it makes. Is it really worth it?
On most Linux file systems the story is different. They typically do not require defrag, since they don’t suffer from fragmentation in the first place. In fact, ext based systems will intentionally scatter files so there is room for them to grow without splitting up. For a great and easy to understand explanation, see the OneAndOneIs2 blog.
As for staring at those fancy looking progress and status screens of the defrag tools, it seems it’s a thing of the past across all OSes. It was a nice way to kill time; a bit like watching the washing machine tumble the clothes, I guess. Well, there’s always Bittorrent chunks. They actually look a bit similar when only part of the torrent is downloaded.
Writing for Softpedia, Constantin Murariu claimed last week that the “HDD crisis” has been greatly exaggerated by the big manufactures, Seagate and Western Digital. For a fact, they have posted very healthy profits over the last months. Furthermore, there is now a duopoly in the HDD market, after Seagate bought Samsung’s hard drive division in April 2011, and Western Digital bought Hitachi’s HDD division.
Murariu laments that we will never see prices as low as pre-flood, however, that would of course go against more than half a century in improved technology and value for money. After all, storage capacity has seen extreme growth and its own “Moore’s law”, but at a much more rapid phase than the transistor density. We already have Hitachi’s 4 TB Deskstar and Seagate’s 4 TB GoFlex Desk from last year. The later uses 5 platters of 800 GB, but the former is already at 1 TB / platter, which means that a 5 TB disk is already feasible if they wanted to. However, four platters usually makes for more stable and reliable disks, as they have less components, so that’s usually what the follow-up drives are made up from.
Looking at the current prices, they’ve come down a bit since right after the flood, but still have further to go before getting back to June 2011 levels. For example, the external 3 TB WD disk was ~140 Euros last year, went up to 203 Euros, and is now at 165 Euros (but with the faster USB 3 interface), or still 18% higher. Not a disaster for your wallet, but still a bump in the ever decreasing prices per byte.
Other than that, the relative ranking remains the same. The 2 TB disk still gives most bytes for money, optical disks don’t change much at all, SSD is coming down, but is still a lot more expensive than spinning disks, and CompactFlash is the most expensive medium around (but with increasing read/write speeds for ever larger sensors and pictures).
|Media Type||Product||Capacity||Price CHF||Price Euros||Euros / GB||GBs / Euro|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB||2000 GB||125.00||104.05||0.05||19.22|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB||3000 GB||199.00||165.64||0.06||18.11|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 3TB, USB3||3000 GB||199.00||165.64||0.06||18.11|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||139.00||115.70||0.06||17.29|
|Harddisk||Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000, 4TB||4000 GB||351.00||292.16||0.07||13.69|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB||1000 GB||99.00||82.41||0.08||12.14|
|External 2.5||Western Digital My Passport 2TB, USB3||2000 GB||237.00||197.27||0.10||10.14|
|External 3.5||Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 1TB, USB3||1000 GB||119.00||99.05||0.10||10.10|
|External 2.5||Western Digital My Passport Essential 1TB||1000 GB||124.00||103.21||0.10||9.69|
|Harddisk||Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB||500 GB||87.00||72.42||0.14||6.90|
|Blu-ray||Verbatim BD-R SL 25 @ 50GB||1250 GB||232.00||193.11||0.15||6.47|
|DVD+R DL||Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 25 @ 8,5GB||213 GB||43.00||35.79||0.17||5.94|
|DVD-R||Verbatim 16x DVD-R 100 @ 4,7GB||470 GB||97.00||80.74||0.17||5.82|
|CD-R||Verbatim CD-R 100 @ 700MB||70 GB||43.00||35.79||0.51||1.96|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 32GB||32 GB||31.00||25.80||0.81||1.24|
|SSD||Corsair Force3 240GB||240 GB||237.00||197.27||0.82||1.22|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Ultra Cruzer BACKUP 64GB||64 GB||67.00||55.77||0.87||1.15|
|SSD||Corsair Force3 120GB||120 GB||128.00||106.54||0.89||1.13|
|SSD||OCZ Agility 3 240GB||240 GB||269.00||223.91||0.93||1.07|
|SSD||OCZ Agility 3 120GB||120 GB||135.00||112.37||0.94||1.07|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 240GB||240 GB||270.00||224.74||0.94||1.07|
|SSD||Corsair Force GT 120GB||120 GB||145.00||120.69||1.01||0.99|
|SSD||Intel SSD 330 Series 120GB, SATA-3||120 GB||159.00||132.35||1.10||0.91|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 240GB||240 GB||319.00||265.53||1.11||0.90|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 120GB||120 GB||169.00||140.67||1.17||0.85|
|SSD||Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB, SATA-3||240 GB||359.00||298.82||1.25||0.80|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120GB||120 GB||199.00||165.64||1.38||0.72|
|SSD||OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB||240 GB||399.00||332.12||1.38||0.72|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 16GB||16 GB||27.00||22.47||1.40||0.71|
|USB Flash||Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive 8GB||8 GB||14.00||11.65||1.46||0.69|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Ultra 200x, 16GB||16 GB||70.00||58.27||3.64||0.27|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||288.00||239.72||3.75||0.27|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||145.00||120.69||3.77||0.27|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||92.00||76.58||4.79||0.21|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 100MB/s, 128GB||128 GB||845.00||703.36||5.49||0.18|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 64GB||64 GB||433.00||360.42||5.63||0.18|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 32GB||32 GB||218.00||181.46||5.67||0.18|
|Compact Flash||SanDisk Extreme 400x, 60MB/s, 8GB||8 GB||64.00||53.27||6.66||0.15|
|Compact Flash||Sandisk Extreme Pro 600x, 90MB/s, 16GB||16 GB||131.00||109.04||6.82||0.15|
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.201378 CHF.